MANILA – With the use of the SARS CoV-2 PCR Detection Kit, the University of the Philippines-National Institute of Health (UP-NIH) can perform 1,000 tests per week, providing immediate diagnosis and monitoring of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.
DOH Undersecretary and Food and Drug Administration Director-General Eric Domingo said the locally-produced kits could improve but not drastically change the pace of testing of specimens from potential Covid-19 cases.
“Even when the test kits are available ang maximum na magagawa ng UP-NIH is 1,000 tests per week at ‘yun din ang enough na mapo-produce nila na (only 1,000 tests per week maximum the UP-NIH can create and they can produce enough) reagents for 1,000 patients per week,” Domingo said during a press briefing in Manila.
Domingo said the local test kit “will not be widely available to the public since its Certificate of Exemption does not allow it to be sold to the public.”
“May selection pa rin kung sino ang dapat ma-test (There’s still a selection of who must be tested). This is going to be done within the UP-NIH…there are subnational laboratories listed to use the local test kits, and we’re also listing private hospitals,” he said.
The UP-NIH has committed to start with the testing on Monday (March 16), a week after the kit was approved.
The kit has a shorter turnaround time with 45 minutes to two hours processing to extend the capacity of the DOH laboratories.
Meanwhile, DOH Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine still has enough supply test kits for possible Covid-19 cases.
“The RITM, 300 tests per day, kaya pang tugunan ang mga (it can still accommodate) requests for tests. We’re mobilizing our partnership with UP-NIH in case the cases continue to go up,” she added. (PNA)